Sen. Bill Nelson Pushing Ban on Commonly Owned Semiautomatic Rifles

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) pushed for a ban on commonly owned semiautomatic rifles during Tuesday’s debate against Republican challenger Rick Scott.

The Sun Sentinel reports that Nelson said he wants to “get the assault rifles off the street.” But that which Nelson and other Democrats describe as “assault rifles” are more aptly described as modern sporting rifles owned by millions upon millions of Americans.

On August 31, 2018, Breitbart News reported that over nine million AR-15s were manufactured to be sold in the U.S. during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency alone.

Nelson also suggested AR-15s and other similarly owned semiautomatic rifles are “for killing” rather than hunting, claiming this is another reason he opposes allowing law-abiding Americans to possess them. However, ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk has made clear that the AR-15 is “now the standard for hunting activities.”

In fact, Turk says the use of AR-15s for hunting is so widespread that the ATF should revisit previous studies on the gun and amend them.

On January 20, 2017, the Washington Post published a “White Paper” where Turk wrote, “The use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as ‘modern sporting rifles’ has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its 20-year-old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than it was years ago.”

Nelson also pushed to outlaw private gun sales via universal background checks. This means that Americans would no longer be able to buy gun from their neighbor, their lifelong friend, their co-worker, or family member they way they have been doing since 1791, the year the Second Amendment was ratified. It also means every gun sale would immediately have a paper trail that could be used in a national gun registry, which would be necessary in order to make universal background checks enforceable.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


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